Last fall, Karen Johnson wanted to add a new walkway from the front door of her Cobb County home to the street.
On a recommendation from a contractor, Johnson hired Woodstock-based Kevin Murphy Construction for the job. Murphy faced a challenge. He had to match the flagstone and concrete color on the new walkway to the existing walkway adjacent to the driveway.
With the new, from here-to-there walkway, Johnson no longer frets about visitors blocking her driveway.
“They park on the street and walk up to the front door,” said Johnson. “I use the new walkway more myself. Now I am thinking about new landscaping.”
A front walkway plays a key part in your home’s curb appeal. It not only guides visitors, but it adds visual interest to your landscape.
“A walkway makes a first impression on your guests and serves as the entrance to your home,” said Leslie Rohrer, owner of Carter-Rohrer, a landscape design firm in Canton. “You want it to be welcoming.”
Whether you are planning a new front walkway or want to replace an existing one, consider these pointers from various sources, including Murphy and Rohrer.
Before you start
- Check magazines and online galleries, such as houzz.com for walkway ideas.
- Decide why you want a new front walkway. Is it in disrepair? Most homeowners decide to replace an older, existing walkway as part of a larger project, such as a front porch makeover or new landscaping.
- Keep in mind your home’s design. The walkway should complement or accentuate your home’s exterior style.
- Make sure soil and drainage issues are addressed.
- Consider the size of your front yard. Size, such as a short front yard, will often dictate your options.
- Visit an area stone yard to see materials, designs and talk to experts. Stone Forest (stoneforest.net) in Kennesaw offers living outdoor displays.
What to consider
Three of the most important front walkway design considerations are width, shape and paving materials.
Width. A front walkway that is least four feet wide is preferred. This allows two people to walk side by side on the path. An overly wide path is better than a narrow one, according to pros, who often vary the width of the walkway at certain points, such as where the path meets the driveway.
Shape. The main walkway shapes are straight and curved. A straight walkway is simple, yet more formal. It instantly makes your house and the front door the focal point. Curved walkways provide a more natural, informal feel and can add design interest to a large front yard.
Materials. Concrete, concrete pavers, poured concrete slabs, brick and various stone, including bluestone, limestone, Crab orchard and flagstone, provide solid paving material for a front walkway or high-traffic area. Other points to consider:
- Durable and attractive, stone is often set in mortar, but it can be bedded in gravel, crushed rock or sand.
- Combining materials creates the feel of a walkway that has always been there.
- Large, square or rectangular stones, concrete slabs and pavers work well with contemporary-style homes. They can often balance and graphic design.
- No matter what materials you select, make sure they complement the exterior of your house. For example, if your house has brick, consider using a brick border as an accent on a concrete walkway.
Cost. The cost of installing a new walkway depends on several factors, including size, material, design and labor. Additional costs could include grading and demolition.
- Crushed pea gravel is one the least expensive walkway materials, followed by concrete, brick, pavers and natural stone.
- In general, a straight simple walkway will cost less than a walkway that curves or has intricate patterns.
- If you want a walkway made with brick, pavers or natural stone, but are concerned about cost, use them as decorative accents. Brick, pavers or stone can be installed as borders or bands in a concrete.
- Seal walkway once or twice a year with concrete or masonry sealant, said Murphy. Apply with roller or pump sprayer.
- Keep walkway free of mold and moss, which could make it slippery.
- Inspect walkway materials regularly for cracks broken or loose mortar. Repair before water and ice do more damage.